SDP Chair Paul Tambyah: Jolovan’s courage “should be commended”

Dr Paul Tambyah, chairperson of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), issued a statement on behalf of the party expressing support for activist Jolovan Wham, who has 7 charges brought against him for organising public assemblies. This is the latest show of support following statements by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and local NGO Function 8.

Dr Paul quotes the then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in 1965: “Singapore shall forever be a sovereign democratic and independent nation, founded upon the principles of liberty and justice and ever seeking the welfare and happiness of her people in a more just and equal society”, and notes that those principles are being "eroded". "Those who have campaigned for a more just and equal society have been marginalized and silenced for too long."

The statement also reminds that such rights are guaranteed in the Singapore constitution, and that Jolovan "should be commended for his courage and integrity in helping to bring Singapore back to our historic roots."

"Pursuing Mr Wham for peaceful protests that have harmed no one is a regressive step that can only adversely affect Singaporeans and Singapore’s global reputation."

This is not the first time the SDP has come out in support of activists engaging in civil disobedience. The SDP has also expressed its solidarity with Seelan Palay, an artist whose performance art involving holding a mirror in front of Parliament got him arrested under the Public Order Act.

In related news, an online petition calling for charges against Jolovan Wham to be dropped has been started.

Below is the statement released by the SDP in full:

The Singapore Democratic Party has long believed and fought for the basic freedoms guaranteed by our constitution.

When we became independent in 1965, our then Prime Minister proclaimed that “Singapore shall forever be a sovereign democratic and independent nation, founded upon the principles of liberty and justice and ever seeking the welfare and happiness of her people in a more just and equal society”

Over the last fifty two years, we have seen those principles slowly but surely being eroded. Those who have campaigned for a more just and equal society have been marginalized and silenced for too long.

Mr Jolovan Wham has peacefully spoken out in support of the very principles that Singapore was founded upon – liberty and justice for all. He should be commended for his courage and integrity in helping to bring Singapore back to our historic roots.

The basic rights to speak and publicly participate in our nation's affairs are enshrined in our Constitution and must be respected by the authorities. Restricting the very freedoms that our pioneering generation fought so hard to secure is unconstitutional.

Pursuing Mr Wham for peaceful protests that have harmed no one is a regressive step that can only adversely affect Singaporeans and Singapore’s global reputation.

Paul Tambyah
Chairman
Singapore Democratic Party

This entry was posted in Civil Society, Community, Current Affairs, Legislation, Politics, Social Justice.
This entry was posted in Civil Society, Community, Current Affairs, Legislation, Politics, Social Justice.